2014 resized 600The best-in-class marketing leaders have already started planning for next year.  They follow an annual planning process that starts in July with a Marketing Productivity Benchmark.  A productivity benchmark assesses the marketing organization’s capabilities – its strengths and weaknesses.  The output of the assessment is a prioritized list of initiatives for the coming year. 


You can download the framework for a Marketing Productivity Benchmark in this post.


Top marketers assess their organization through four lenses: process, technology, people and content.  Below are a few things to consider in each category.



Account Segmentation: The focus of Account Segmentation is twofold:


  1. Define a company’s Ideal Customer based on propensity to buy factors and historical customer data
  2. Identify the total available market for a company’s product or service.


The output focuses marketing efforts on customers & prospects with the highest potential to grow revenues.


Campaign Planning & Execution: How good is your team’s ability to build & execute
marketing campaigns.  If you cannot run effective campaigns, you will be hard-pressed to generate leads for the sales force.  Effective campaign execution has two steps: Planning and Execution.  The best marketers assess both.


Lead Management – Someone who form-fills isn’t a sales-ready lead. Unfortunately, many marketing organization act this way.  They pass along prospects that are not ready to interact with sales.  The best practice is implementing a lead management process that nurtures leads until they are truly sales-ready.



Marketing Automation: Marketing Automation is the art and science of automatically managing the targeting, timing, and content of your outbound marketing messages.   The technology responds to prospects’ inbound actions and online behaviors.


Today’s marketers use the technology to automate the tasks associated with lead management, lead nurturing and lead scoring.  They also leverage it to create and maintain a marketing lead database.


Done right, it can help marketing organizations improve their productivity as well as their collaboration with sales organizations.



Content Creators & Curators: In today’s buyer environment, the need for content is essential.  And not just any content, but relevant & contextual content.  To succeed, marketing needs resources dedicated to content creation and curating. They are responsible for researching your buyers. They answer questions such as: What is important to my buyers?  What are their needs, goals & objetives?  Why and how do they buy?  As such, these resources must be proficient in Buyer Personas and Buying Process Maps


Building on buyer research, they also spearhead content creation.  Their goal is to know what
resonates with buyers:  Blog posts, webinars, slideshare, white papers, etc. 


Lead Development Reps: A lead development rep is not a tele-marketer.  A lead development rep (LDR) is not a sales rep either.  They hold a very strategic role within the sales and marketing organization. 


The LDR’s job is to increase the quantity and quality of leads provided to sales.  If done
correctly, the LDR is the first human contact a prospect has with your company.  They make that vital first impression. 


The LDR’s job is to stay with the prospect and nurture them until they are sales ready.



When assessing your marketing team’s content capabilities, follow these four steps:


Personas: Great content is based on research captured in Buyer Personas.  Personas are modeled representations of…


  • who your buyers are
  • what they are trying to accomplish
  • what goals drive their behavior


If you want to produce content that resonates with your buyers, step 1 is building Personas.


Buyer Process Maps: The key to effective marketing is the ability to deliver the right message at the right time.  Buying Process Maps (BPMs) facilitate this.  A BPM is a tool that maps the decision making process used to purchase a product, service or solution.  It captures the phases, key actions and micro decisions that make up the buyer’s journey.   


Content Audit: With a BPM in hand, the best marketers audit their content.  They take inventory of all forms of content and overlay them on the BPM by persona. This critical exercise reveals gaps in content.  It provides a content production roadmap for the marketing team.


Content Production: You need to cultivate the ability to consistently create great content. Generally, marketing leaders struggle with whether to outsource or use internal SMEs.  Whichever route you take, your content must drive your buyers to act by…


  • Highlighting a problem exists
  • Compel the reader to solve it
  • Clearly articulate you’re the only solution


CALL TO ACTION: It’s July.  Have you started planning for 2014?  Be world-class and start now with a Marketing Productivity Benchmark.  Assess your marketing organizations strengths and weaknesses.  Identify the gaps and develop a prioritized action plan to close those gaps.